Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 1, 2013

Tips for September gardening in Charlotte’s University City

In Carolina Piedmont gardens, they say, September is our second April.

This kind of chipper slogan reminds me of “60 is the new 50,” another talk-show maxim that’s a mix of wishful thinking, denial and true belief in technology, with a little “Faust” thrown in for good measure.

Gardeners start as wide-eyed idealists but quickly evolve into curmudgeonly realists, so skepticism is perfectly understandable.

In the veggie patch, however, there is some truth to the idea that fall is our second spring. Cool-season crops we love – lettuce, broccoli, slaw cabbage, collards – mature to maximum sweetness in cooler weather. If you plant them in September here and nurse them through the hot spells as young’uns, they grow to delicious maturity later in the fall.

Here are some tricks of the trade:

• First, don’t wait. Hopefully, you already have some fall things going, started in mid-August. If you haven’t, get your broccoli, cabbage, collards and the like in as soon as possible. Same goes for beets and carrots, using varieties that mature in less than 70 days. Lettuce, mustard greens and radishes are all a bit more tolerant, but you still are wise to get them in by mid-September.

• Second trick, use transplants for all but the root crops and mustard greens, to give you a head start. They are readily available, in case you have not started your own.

• Last, keep your plants watered, especially during hot spells. I believe in mulch, but don’t overdo it; an inch of straw to cool the soil is fine. Some gardeners rig up shade for September transplants, and it is a perfectly good strategy short term. Just be ready to remove any shading as we move from summer to fall, and days begin to shorten.

Some summer crops are going strong and benefit from attention and regular picking. Peppers are my prime example; for me, this is always their best time of year. But I have to stay on top of picking (no problem; peppers freeze well), and I sometimes have to brace stems. I like using those little green bamboo sticks, functional, unobtrusive and biodegradable. Can’t beat ’em.

This cool, soggy summer, our tomatoes were way below spectacular. One variety stands out for breaking the pattern – Early Girl. Tomahto snobs may turn up their noses at this workhorse hybrid, preferring Brandywine and other ballyhooed heirlooms, but at our house it’s been Early Girls satisfying those irresistible cravings for tomato sandwiches over a long, wet, pleasantly cool but tomato-challenged summer. (Meanwhile, I’ve had a bumper crop of basil – must be pesto time.)

There are plenty of other September garden chores. Bugs and weeds have huge head of steam, and both require conscientious control efforts. Watch for stink bugs, and relentlessly hand-pick them (they come up to the tops of plants after watering).

Pigweed and other summer party crashers are setting seed. Get after them before they throw that seed everywhere for next year. Weeds with deeper roots are easier to pull after a rain, but try to get rid of them when they are small.

Leave your shrubs and trees alone this month. Plants need to harden off before the rigors of winter, even in our mild climate. Don’t add fertilizer or manure (except, of course, in the vegetable patch), and be especially careful not to prune plants that bear autumn flowers (such as Sasanqua camellias) or set berries (like winterberry holly, Ilex verticillata). Unless you want a dull spring, keep your nippers strictly away from azaleas and other spring bloomers.

Garden centers will soon be filled with “instant color” mums. I’m not crazy about most chrysanthemums, frankly. White mums are associated with funerals in Asia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Still, if you want to have a “killer” landscape, you have an endless variety of flower and leaf colors, at bargain prices. Pick compact, healthy plants with tight buds. I prefer to use mums in pots, move them around and then feed them to the compost when they have done their job.

That said, mums will grow here as perennials if you stick them in the ground. But next season and beyond, they won’t look anything like the way they do fresh out of the nursery, tanked with more growth enhancers than a baseball slugger. We’ve had one recycled mum by the mailbox at the end of our driveway since 1996, and it offers up just a couple of modest blooms each year. White, of course.

Article source:

How to design a closet

Posted: Sunday, September 1, 2013 12:00 am

How to design a closet

Scripps Howard News Service

Richmond Times-Dispatch

It seems as if we never have enough closet space, and it seems the little space we have in our closets is crammed and unorganized. Let’s see how we can fix that.

Start by removing the clothes from the rods and all the stuff that is on the shelves and floors. Place the items you’ve taken out into groups of similar items, such as slacks in one pile, shirts in another, skirts in another and so on.

Then categorize each group into colors: all the tan tops together, all the blue tops together and so on. While you are sorting through and organizing items, get rid of things you haven’t used in a while. If you can’t part with some things but don’t have a use for them, put them in a box and store them in the attic or someplace other than your closet. You still have your treasures, but they won’t take up space in the closet. Items you can part with should go to charity.

Measure the space available in the closet (length, width, depth). Now estimate how much room you will need for each of the groups of clothing, shoes, bags, etc. Draw a simple template onto paper with the size of the closet. Create “blocks” in the closet template, sort of like building blocks, and figure out what to put where. Tops and shorts can go one over the other on rods. If you don’t mind hanging slacks by draping them over a hanger, then they can also go on a rod under the tops. Blocks for shoes and handbags should be drawn in, too. Include an area for longer-hanging items, such as dresses and, if you prefer, hanging pants the long way. In your drawing, provide a high shelf for hats, luggage or large handbags.

Provide a space on a wall in the closet to hang belts and necklaces. If you have space in the closet for drawers, install them for underwear, PJs, socks and jewelry. If there is no space for drawers in the closet, then store these things in the bedroom in the dresser drawers.

Hooks in the closet serve good purposes. Robes are one example of what the hooks can be used for.

Of course, the size of some closets just won’t meet your needs no matter how much you work at it, but these ideas can help somewhat.


Sunday, September 1, 2013 12:00 am.

Article source:

Technology, graphic design elevate modern wall coverings

Atmospheric and ethereal, some images defy references. There are unlikely patchwork montages, graphically arresting, which actually reference a colorful range of intricately patterned silk scarves. Watercolor abstractions in intense hues are spellbinding. Blooms of dahlias evoking more psychedelic than natural colors are explosive. Mega-scale, mural-sized photos are crisp and realistic. Brushstrokes and drips of paint may, in fact, be real.

This is the world of today’s most creative wallpaper design. It’s a modern movement with deep roots in nostalgia, both in history and in imagery.

Technological advances, including ink-jet printing, have opened a new world of scale, color and technique, one that has been happily embraced by artisans, many of whom have been trained in fine arts, graphic design and photography.

In an ongoing effort to push the envelope with unique surface coverings, in recent years we’ve seen an uptick in the use of leather, skin and more unconventional materials such as metal, resin, beads, shells and even Swarovski crystals, which add dimension as well as texture and sheen. One London-based company, Meystyle, even embeds LED lights into its sophisticated patterns.

Pattern certainly has played a pivotal role in dimensional or textural examples. But perhaps the most excitement these days is in the imagery itself — in traditional silk screens, hand-painting, and digital and print technology.

And these days, there is so much more than meets the eye. There’s a mix of sophistication, serendipity and wit at play with the creative process.

The latest collection from Trove, for example, features ethereal looks with names such as Nimbus, which evokes puffy clouds, and Heze, which features abstracted circles. For partners Jee Levin and Randall Buck, the design was a new, experimental adventure. The two created the images by making a series of paintings with flashlights and fiber-optic toys, exposing light to different photographic papers.

“It’s playfully lighthearted,” says Levin, who says the concept was inspired by New York City street fairs. “We started seeing weird, odd toys, like bracelets and wands. We thought, ‘Let’s play with those and use them as an unconventional art tools.’ So we gathered the pieces, brought them into a darkroom, used a variety of photographic papers and exposed light at different speeds. The experiment involved time, light and color. We learned that red does not actually expose light to the paper, and you can see interruptions in the patterning, sort of gestural brushstrokes. Color was the process, not just informing the process.”

Look closely at the patterns in Alyse Solomon’s wall coverings and you may begin to recognize elements. What they resemble may be anything from embroidery to pointillistic art to pixilations. One study of red lilies, composed on a ground of leaves that look as if they have been cut out of paper and set in, takes on a whole different vibe with a shift of color to fuchsia on olive, where you get lost in stylized pattern.

Solomon combines a background in graphic and textile design with photography. “I always create pattern and texture and color through the camera,” she says.

So the artistry has really given a boost to rethinking the wall in interiors.

“People are using wallpaper as a kind of artistic statement,” says Shanan Campanaro, creative director and founder of Eskayel, a company based in Brooklyn, N.Y. “It’s less expensive than a giant piece of art. You can use it as an accent rather than everywhere.”

Article source:

HALL MONITOR: Students in motion

August 30, 2013

By Jay Bullock

Jay Bullock color head shotIn July, I sat on a panel at the Government Researcher’s Association annual conference, held this year in Milwaukee. The panel was about the last two decades of school “reform” in Milwaukee, and I told the assembled economists and other researchers about one major negative result of Milwaukee’s education reforms.

Like the classic false dichotomy of “America, love it or leave it,” I explained, we’ve taught Milwaukee parents and students that there’s no option anywhere in between loving your school or moving to a new one.

Data reported by the Milwaukee Public Schools, as well as by those studying voucher schools, show that every year up to a third of Milwaukee’s students are changing schools when they should not be.

This is bad. Academic studies of student mobility show that students who change schools are significantly more likely to be behind in their schooling and score below proficiency on state tests. Moving a large number of students into a school can even drag down the achievement of students who don’t move, as teachers slow instruction to deal with their lately arrived students.

In addition to that, I said at the panel, there’s no school spirit anymore. Because turnover is so high among students, the community is disrupted and the pride students used to have is gone. “What does it mean to be a Redcat?” I can ask my students at Bay View High School, and they don’t know, and often don’t care.

After the panel, someone asked me if I’d read Albert O. Hirschman’s Exit, Voice, and Loyalty, a book that, she said, addresses the ideas I’d raised about school community. I had not. Expecting to find a recent book about school reform, I googled the title and instead found that Hirschman wrote the book in 1970, about a general principle of economics he thought other economists had missed.

It was the principle that between love it (keep buying a product) and leave it (buy a competing product), there is a middle ground—voice, he called it. Loving it or leaving it, Hirschman wrote, was “neat” and “impersonal” and therefore friendly to economists. Alternatively, voice is the condition that develops when dissatisfied customers instead decide to stick around and try to change what they don’t like, demanding improved products and services. Voice is messy, so until Hirschman’s book, economists tended to ignore it, including economists who promoted the idea of school vouchers in the first place.

To get to my school, I drive past the old Fritsche building on Howell Avenue, now home to Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts. Over the past couple of months, the building’s exterior has come to life.

This renaissance is not the school’s doing; it is the result of customer voice. Erin Dentice, mom of two children at Parkside, went to former principal Jeff Krupar (retired at end of 2012-13 academic year) to say the school’s playground was not green enough. Rather than turn her away, Krupar listened to her voice and then some.

“He mentioned giving the school some curb appeal,” Dentice said. “The project took off from there.” With the help of Home Depot, Custom Grown Greenhouses, McKay Nursery, and other parent volunteers, Dentice was able to create tangible and beneficial change at the school.

dave four

Erin Dentice and other members of the Parkside Garden Club selected low-maintenance perennials for their landscaping project at Parkside School (the former Gustav A. Fritsche Middle School building), including Karl Foerster grass, Knock Out roses, Happy Returns daylilies, cone flowers, phlox, alyssum, red chokeberry, dwarf red twig dogwood, Wisconsin juniper, creeping cotoneaster, butterfly bush, Autumn Joy sedum, peony, Jacob’s ladder, and astor. The Parkside Garden Club is comprised of a group of moms whose children attend the school. They plan to install compost bins and a rain garden in the future. —photo courtesy Erin Dentice

Both Tippecanoe and Dover, the schools that combined this year to form Parkside, have student mobility rates below the MPS average. (My school was well above MPS average; it’s also rare to see parents doing anything like landscaping our grounds.) This project is a strong indication of Parkside’s future success at stopping parents’ and students’ exit from the school by keeping them involved and listening to their voice, if their new principal is as receptive as Krupar, who retired at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

The parents involved echoed one more of Hirschman’s ideas about exit and voice related to schools: Even if you exit one school, he argued, education is still a public good you can never fully opt out of so you might as well use your voice.

Parkside parent Erika Joslin, for example, isn’t done giving back to the school. “I plan to do as much as I am able to,” she said. “I do not see school as a place I drop my kid off but as an important part of our life and community.” Dentice said the landscape project was “my way of showing my faith in the school, its students, and staff.”

The inverse is true, too; even parents who don’t use their own voice benefit from parents who do. As Ryan Spellecy, father of two at Parkside, said, “While the parents might not be involved, for whatever reason, their kids can still benefit from an engaged and motivated parent base.”

The lesson here is twofold. One is that MPS needs to stop letting parents exit so frequently—the movement is disruptive; the other is that MPS needs to solicit and heed its community’s voice. These are related. In 1970 Hirschman wrote that “the presence of the exit option can sharply reduce the probability that the voice option will be taken up widely and effectively.”

Wide and effective voice is what Milwaukee needs far more than the choice to exit.

Jay Bullock is a big believer in voice and teaches English at Bay View Middle and High School. Follow him on Twitter @folkbum.


Copyright 2013 by Bay View Compass. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Article source:

A relaxing thrill

A luxurious bed-and-breakfast, day spa and “glorious camping,” or “glamping,” experience has opened at an estate near Paoli, Ind.

Blueberry Hill Estate, just 10 miles down the road from French Lick, is the brainchild of Tom Bevis and his family, who have spent the last five years transforming their private home into a public getaway. It’s at the end of an hour-and-a-half drive into the hilly Hoosier National Forest and through the little town of English, the road well-stocked with overlooks, wildflowers and wildlife.

“This is a 200-acre French Country estate,” said Bevis. “I’ve had it since 1982 and I’ve always had the desire to develop it into something that would benefit the community, a getaway place for adults. It’s very peaceful and relaxing, and we try to combine some entertainment with that. We’re kind of a unique animal, combining a lot of concepts and ideas together.”

photos by Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier  PressGuests at Blueberry Hill Estate near Paoli, Ind., take in the 22-mile view from the hilltop patio area.

Photo by Aimee Blume

photos by Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier Press
Guests at Blueberry Hill Estate near Paoli, Ind., take in the 22-mile view from the hilltop patio area.

Blueberry Hill Estate is for relaxing, whether it’s indoors or out, on a breezy patio or in one of the hammocks scattered around the hilltop area.

Photo by Aimee Blume

Blueberry Hill Estate is for relaxing, whether it’s indoors or out, on a breezy patio or in one of the hammocks scattered around the hilltop area.

TOP: Blueberry Hill is a 200-acre country French estate just to the west of Paoli, Ind. Guests may come for the day or stay overnight in the bed-and-breakfast or “glamping” area, and enjoy spa services, fine dining and wine, a pool, mineral bath, gaming areas, disk golf and much more. The estate also hosts weddings and events.

Photo by Aimee Blume

TOP: Blueberry Hill is a 200-acre country French estate just to the west of Paoli, Ind. Guests may come for the day or stay overnight in the bed-and-breakfast or “glamping” area, and enjoy spa services, fine dining and wine, a pool, mineral bath, gaming areas, disk golf and much more. The estate also hosts weddings and events.

Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier  PressTom Bevis, owner of Blueberry Hill Estate in Paoli, Ind., rests in one of the estate’s outdoor gardens.

Photo by Aimee Blume

Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier Press
Tom Bevis, owner of Blueberry Hill Estate in Paoli, Ind., rests in one of the estate’s outdoor gardens.

Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier  PressConsider “glamping” at Blueberry Hill Estate, where the tents are guaranteed to be level, dry and equipped with their own furniture and patio.

Photo by Aimee Blume

Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier Press
Consider “glamping” at Blueberry Hill Estate, where the tents are guaranteed to be level, dry and equipped with their own furniture and patio.

Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier  PressSome tents have indoor sitting areas.

Photo by Aimee Blume

Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier Press
Some tents have indoor sitting areas.

Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier  Press“Glamping,” or glamorous camping, involves sleeping in a king-size bed on a nice deck instead of on a few king-size pebbles and a tree root.

Photo by Aimee Blume

Aimee Blume / Special to The Courier Press
“Glamping,” or glamorous camping, involves sleeping in a king-size bed on a nice deck instead of on a few king-size pebbles and a tree root.

The eclectic experience Blueberry Hill offers is a compilation of the life experiences of Bevis, who began as a body shop worker in his native Terre Haute, Ind., years ago. Bevis later began working as a pipeline welder. That work drew to him to the pipeline boom in Australia, where he owned his own pipeline company.

But the pull of his extended family, still in Terre Haute, brought Bevis back to the Midwest, this time to Chicago where he built and owned two rinks in the Elgin, Ill., area, according to Jason Bevis, his son.

When he sold the rinks in the late 1970s, Bevis was ready for early retirement. The family began looking for a secluded home with lots of property and they found it in Southern Indiana.

After a few years of retirement, the senior Bevis was lured back to work to help direct a 77,000-square-foot sanctuary addition to the family’s church home, Bethel Baptist Church in Schaumburg, Ill.

The project was so successful that Bevis did additional church projects in Menominee Falls, Wisc., and Indianapolis. Meanwhile, Jason Bevis was pursing a chemistry degree at Indiana University. When he graduated, Jason Bevis decided instead to go into business with his father. Their project was to develop the Hamptons apartment complex in Bloomington.

Meanwhile, Tom Bevis was continuing to upgrade the family’s home estate.

The house at Blueberry Hill encompasses 14,000 square feet. It was built between 1953 and 1957 by Paoli entrepreneur Gene Cornwell.

“Cornwell made his fortune building television cabinets at Cornwell Corp.,” said Bevis. “Eventually, they had a fire at the factory and never recovered. Cornwell sold the home, and I bought it from that second owner.”

After the apartment complex project, Jason Bevis moved to California for a few years. He and his visiting parents often toured the California vineyards, providing experiences they incorporated into Blueberry Hill with wine and food pairings and the spa.

The estate is more than a bed-and-breakfast or overnight camp. Guests can spend a day swimming in the pool, playing disc golf and sampling the nine wine and food stations throughout the afternoon. Or stop in for dinner at the restaurant or pub, or spend the night, or choose it as a setting for a wedding.

“There are places that offer this type of thing, but most have a minimum of a two-night stay,” said Bevis. “I wanted to offer something for people or groups that’s a little more affordable, and it’s a different concept because we have daily admissions where you can come from nine to five.”

After taking five-and-a-half years to turn the private residence into a resort, Blueberry Hill Estate had its grand opening in early August. Amenities include the house with bed-and-breakfast, dining room, pool, mineral bath, clay bathing area, 18-hole disc golf course, a hilltop patio with a 22-mile view, various gaming areas for croquet, beanbag toss and more, hiking trails, spa with massage, a pub area and a “glamping” area.

What makes “glamping” different from camping is electricity, fine linens and in some cases bathrooms and running water.

They are not placed directly on the ground, meaning they are drier and almost insect-free. Yet they retain the natural undeveloped surroundings of a campsite.

“Our areas are a little more artistically designed than normal,” said Blueberry Hill executive assistant Carla Newlin. “Usually, it’s just a deck with a big army tent on it, but instead of just putting a couple chairs in there, we added patio furniture to make it more comfortable. There are some plants and landscaping, and the tents have electricity and little refrigerators.

“The reaction has been all positive so far,” said Newlin. “We’re building a third ‘glamping’ area which will be more of a permanent tent structure; it will be climate-controlled and even have indoor plumbing.”

The roomy, well-lighted and luxuriously appointed French Country home contains eight bedrooms, five of which are used now as bed-and-breakfast accommodations. The guest rooms are large, decorated in soft colors of rose and sea foam green. Two pairs of rooms share large bathrooms, while the suite has a sitting area and his and hers bathrooms inside. “There are 80 windows in this building and not a bad view anywhere,” said Newlin. “It was very well planned.”

A south-facing sun porch is the dining area, where bed-and-breakfast guests, “glampers,” and day visitors may enjoy breakfast between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, dinner is also served here with a reservation, and wine and food pairings are offered around the estate between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m..

On the ground floor is the spa area, a sunken room lit with flickering candles, suffused with sweet aromas and soft harp music. Massages should be reserved in advance.

Finally, the lower level is home to a game room, warmly finished in brick and leather, with billiards, a couple vintage arcade games, large-screen TV, wine cellar and a small English-style pub.

Outdoors, the pristine grounds are bright, well maintained, and shaded with huge old oak trees. Numerous sitting areas, many with fire pits, are tucked away around the grounds. A cool sunken grotto lies on the house’s east side, where moss and ferns cling to the crannies of the limestone walls. From there, it’s a few steps to the sunny poolside seats. As guests explore, they’ll find sitting areas tucked everywhere, just right for sipping a cool drink and enjoying conversation.

“The guests have said that although there might be 80 or more people here, they feel like they’re not on top of each other and it’s very peaceful,” said Newlin. “They may join in a group discussion or find one of many quiet nooks.”

Above a slate-flagged patio outside the dining area lies the pool and bath house, and the mineral bath, which is enhanced with a proprietary blend of minerals mixed at the estate.

“We researched it and decided to mix our own minerals,” said Bevis. “We wanted the mineral bath but didn’t want the sulfur smell you get at French Lick.”

In the clay bathing area, you won’t find a pit of mud to wallow in, but pristine deck chairs and a bowl of clay for rubbing on your skin.

“Clay expands 27 times when it is wet,” said Newlin. “So when it dries it contracts and pulls out all the toxins from your skin, lifts off the dead cells, and leaves your skin so soft. There are showers to rinse off after your clay bath.”

The jewels of the grounds are the disk golf course and the Hilltop patio area.

The disk golf course was originally laid out as a golf course by famed course designer Pete Dye, who also laid out the PGA course at French Lick.

A gravel trail leads past the pool area and winds through untouched woodland to the Hilltop, where a stone patio and flower beds surround an Amish-built cabin with a kitchen and bathroom.

Soft blues and jazz music fill the air, while patrons relax, sip wine and enjoy the view over much of the northern portion of Orange County. For weddings, an arch can be erected here for the bride and groom to speak their vows with the stunning panorama spread behind.

“In the future, we’re going to add 16 Victorian-style cottages on top of the hill,” said Newlin, “and a sunken, heated patio area with Greek baths and a saline bath. It will be enclosed with trellises and glass, open above but with heaters, so you can get in them in the winter.”

Guests at Blueberry Hill may choose from a variety of packages to tailor their visits to their own desires.

“Every package has its own price,” said Newlin. “There’s a glamping package, the daily package, a fine-dining package. Disc golf is included in every package but you can’t come just to play golf. Ideally, people will come for the day, spend the night, get up, have breakfast, and then go home refreshed … that’s what we promote most.”

After less than a month of operation, the estate is busy and growing busier.

“We’ve had mostly couples, but I’m seeing more girl groups,” said Newlin. Blueberry Hill Estate is located in Paoli, Ind. For more information or to arrange a package, call 812-723-3767, or visit

Article source:

Sundale set template for future charities






PARTY TIME: Peter Readman, Kathleen Readman and Robyn Stower at Sundale Nursing Homes 50th anniversary celebrations at the Nambour Civic Centre.
PARTY TIME: Peter Readman, Kathleen Readman and Robyn Stower at Sundale Nursing Home’s 50th anniversary celebrations at the Nambour Civic Centre. Warren Lynam

NAMBOUR this weekend celebrates the value of an idea and the power communities that embrace ideas have to change lives for the better.

The 50th anniversary celebrations for Sundale yesterday recognised people from many backgrounds who came together to make the idea of honouring pioneering families a reality in the form of aged-care facilities that have continued to grow with demand.

We are now in an age where communities are demanding government to deliver infrastructure to service growth.

When a Nambour Apexian’s idea of a retirement centre collided back in 1960 with the generosity of three businessmen driven to return some of their success to their town, the best they could count on then was that government would match the contribution.

An ethic of self-help over handouts was the general rule. Nambour was not found wanting in that respect.

Sundale opened in 1963 with three cottages, 20 hostel units, a dining area, kitchen and supervisor’s flat.

Today it cares for 340 aged in their own homes, 400 in retirement villages and 330 through the provision of rehabilitation services. As well, it manages 50 rental properties and delivers childcare to 117 children.

The main kitchen at the James Grimes Care Centre prepares and delivers 1450 meals a day with a further 985 produced at its villages at Coolum, Palmwoods and Kilcoy. That’s a total 2435 meals a day or 90,000 a year

The celebrated Eden Rehabilitation Centre at Cooroy and the Sundale Rehabilitation centre in Nambour are setting benchmarks for treatment that is restoring quality to people’s lives struck by injury or illness.

A book, Sundale – Creating Communities 1963-2013, written by Elaine and Inga Green and published to coincide with this weekend’s

celebrations, tells the story of how the energy of a small group of community-minded people made that all possible.

Remarkably, what was then a small rural industry-based community, through imaginative fundraising and generosity of spirit generated in today’s dollars $1.42 million to complete the first project, raised $1.8 million, of which $250,000 was donated in just 13 weeks to start the James Grimes Care Centre, and $8.2 million to construct the first stage of the Rotary Garden Village on a five-hectare donated site.

All was done without ever once going into debt.

What is now an aged-care industry was born of that kind of community sacrifice.

It could be argued that the community spirit that today drives a multitude of charitable endeavours from Wishlist, through to Give Me 5 for Kids, the Island Charity Swim and countless runs and paddle-athons was built on the foundations laid by the effort to build Sundale.

It was the Nambour Chronicle which itself gave birth to the Sunshine Coast Daily that, at the Nambour Apex Club’s prompting ran a reader poll to determine the community’s greatest needs.

The response overwhelmingly was the simple proposition that Nambour and district’s frail aged should not have to leave familiar surroundings to move to Brisbane and elsewhere for care.

What followed was simply remarkable.

Nambour Apex Club’s decision to take advantage of a federal government subsidy that had just been put in place, coincided with the decision by business partners Clem Renouf, James Grimes and Roy Charlton to donate a seven hectare land parcel to their church for the same purpose.

A chance conversation on the footpath led to the businessmen throwing their lot behind the project, one of the largest ever undertaken by an Australian Apex club.

The three businessmen also each contributed 1000 pounds to the venture.

A foundation committee including Mr Grimes, Mr Renouf, Mr Charlton, Chronicle editor Peter Richardson, Noel Parry and Ian Hayne first met on May 27, 1960.

It was succeeded in mid-1961 by a management committee that included the three business partners, Ray Wilson, Robert “Bob” Sherwell, and Mr Hayne and Mr Parry. The town became consumed with the project to the point that for months it was as if the community’s every activity revolved around fundraising.

At one point 30 Apexians were collecting scrap metal three mornings a week before work and loading it into railway trucks.

Typical of the innovative approach to fundraising, Chronicle reporter Wilfred Griggs took to a pole in Currie St for 24 hours.

The next year in February Mr Hayne and Tommy Carter, clutching phone directories, took to a SEQEB-supplied pole on which Harcus and Poole built a room serviced by Michael’s Plumbing Works. Over the course of seven days the men contacted 5000 people by phone raising nearly 7000 pounds.

Incredibly for an organisation engaged in a complex process of almost continual expansion, Sundale didn’t gain charitable status in its own right until 1972.

For all of the previous decade all money raised was directed through the accounts of the Nambour Apex Club.

That, however, was far from the club’s sole contribution. Its members rostered regularly to do landscaping and maintenance work finishing off a day’s toil with a barbecue and singalong with Hazel Smith at the piano.

Hazel became a Sundale resident, entertaining guests for more than 30 years.

Rotary Club of Nambour nominees joined the committee of management in the early 1980s to help supervise construction of the Rotary Village at Sundale, adding to a successful corporate structure that has continued.

The 50th anniversary will see Sundale become a company limited by guarantee and its committee of management evolve into a board of directors with governance standards and responsibilities determined by ASIC.

Article source:

Garden tour focuses on water – Glens Falls Post

Visitors will soak up flora and fauna next weekend during the second annual Saratoga County Water Garden Tour, sponsored by Chip’s Landscaping Gardens in Saratoga Springs.

Proceeds will benefit the educational programs of the Saratoga County Historical Society at Brookside Museum in Ballston Spa.

This year’s self-guided tour with 10 areas homes and businesses will feature rainwater harvesting, waterfalls and streams, spill ways, rock bubblers, wetlands and Jan Lootens’ swimmable pond.

The Middle Grove resident had the 12,000-gallon pond installed in May 2012 after her family felt upstate New York’s shorter summers would keep them from getting a lot of use out of a pool.

Lootens said swimmable ponds are popular in Europe. She likes that they are eco-friendly with a natural filtration system.

“I didn’t want to be putting chemicals in it,” she said.

Lootens said her pond, stocked with eight koi and one goldfish, has been customized to include the wishes of her family members. Her husband wanted it to be deep enough to do a cannonball, her daughter asked for a beach area and her son requested a swim tunnel.

Lootens likes sitting on the porch and hearing water running.

“I think it’s very relaxing. You’re part of nature but you can still use it for swimming when it got hot on those few occasions this summer,” she said.

Lootens has added a Japanese maple, day lilies, hydrangeas, Russian sage, irises, hostas and cosmos to the area around the pond.

“It’s really cool to share with people. We’ve put a lot of work into it,” she said.


The Second Annual Saratoga Water Garden Tour will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 8 in several locations in Saratoga County. A barbecue with children’s games follows the tour at Chip’s Landscaping Gardens, at which time a raffle of 200 tickets will be held to win a pond kit. Tickets are required for the tour and barbecue and are available in advance from Brookside Museum. Tickets are $12 per adult in advance or $15 the day of the event. Children aged 5 to 12 pay $6. Call Brookside Museum at 885-4000 or visit for further details.

Article source:

Water-wise landscaping workshops coming this fall

The city of Napa is offering water-wise landscaping workshops to help residents save water by sharing the latest techniques in sprinkler scheduling, drip irrigation, lawn removal, rainwater capture and garden design.

“This very dry year serves as a powerful reminder that outdoor conservation is still the key to a reliable water future,” said Patrick Costello, water resources analyst for the city of Napa.

The city is teaming with the Napa County Resource Conservation District and Napa County Public Works to present this educational series.

For four consecutive weeks beginning Sept. 16, Monday evening sessions will be held in the Little Theater on the Vintage High School campus from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

As a bonus, there will be two Saturday morning hands-on sessions Sept. 28 and Oct. 5 beginning at 10 a.m. centered around developing the new Vintage High School Rain Garden and Water-Wise Landscape.

The series features expert presenters, free water-saving tools, literature, door prizes and information on current local rebate incentives.

Some special offerings this year include the Sept. 28 Bay-Friendly Lose Your Lawn talk and an Oct. 7 author appearance. Workshops are free, but residents are urged to register for specific dates by calling 707-252-4188 ext. 116, or emailing

The schedule:

• Irrigating Smartly, Sept. 16. After learning to “take control of your controller” using a new online tool/smartphone app and hearing about weather-based “Smart” controllers, watch Harmony Farm Supply staff resolve the mysteries of drip irrigation.

• Preparing Your Site, Sept. 23. Following a summary of the eight principles of water-wise landscaping, local master gardeners will review local soils and the critical importance of aeration, amendments and mulch.

• Learn how to remove your lawn without tearing it out, Sept. 28. There will be a hands-on demonstration of sheet mulching, followed by an optional hour of tabling where you can get one-on-one advice from a garden design expert.

• Capturing the Rain, Sept. 30. How to design and install a rain garden on your property. See the best techniques for capturing rainwater to supplement your irrigation supply. Napa County’s rebate incentives for rain gardens and rain barrels/cisterns will be reviewed.

• Lay the Groundwork, Oct. 5. Be a part of the team developing the Vintage High School Rain Garden and Water-Wise Landscape, a valuable new educational resource for the Napa community showcasing sustainable gardening.

• Choosing the Right Plants, Oct. 7. A special presentation by Sarah Sutton, author of “The New American Front Yard: Kiss Your Grass Goodbye,” and a plant show that will demonstrate that drought-tolerant is anything but boring.

For details, visit the water conservation section at

Article source:

Go behind scenes to learn how Busch Gardens landscapes

For 23 years, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been named “The Most Beautiful Park” by the National Amusement Park Historical Association.

Maintaining that designation for the park’s 200 acres takes planning, coordination and expertise from landscapers like Sheila Cox, a Virginia certified horticulturist and member of the park’s landscaping team since 2002. She’s also one of the guides that now give the Landscape Life Tour, a 21/2-hour behind-the-scenes look at how the park cares for its 150 flower beds and creates its many container gardens.

During the tour, you visit the greenhouse where the park grows much of its own plant material and uses beneficial insects to naturally control pests. You also learn about the park’s green initiatives such as rain barrels that collect water for reuse and how its certified habitat garden with native plants provides food, water, shelter and nesting for wildlife.

Most importantly, a successful garden starts with good bones, according to Sheila, a passionate gardener in her personal life, too.

“For Busch Gardens, crape myrtle is among the trees that are used to provide structure to the park’s landscape design,” she says.

Crape myrtle offer a variety of color options and in cooler months feature visually-appealing, exfoliating bark. To add dimension to support many containers, the park also uses hedges like Winter Gem boxwood, which gives strong, green coloration from late spring through the late winter months.

Secondly, focal points define your yard’s theme.

“For the park’s formal gardens in Italy, fan and needle palms were selected as the focal point, both for their look and for their hardiness,” Cox said.

“To blend in color and a tropical feel, the formal gardens in Italy also include green and blood bananas. The slight variation in leaf color in the blood bananas provides additional visual interest. In the France area of the park, Knockout roses were used to create a ‘French country’ style garden. Knockout roses work well as a feature element or as support in a mixed bed.

Finally, color and form can be achieved without flowers.

“From late spring into fall, croton varieties provide colorful, wide, waxy leaves in many Busch Gardens’ flower beds and containers,” she said.

“These sturdy tropical plants have a base of yellow with green, orange and burgundy accents within each leaf. Colors and shapes can vary to work in many landscape applications.

“Coleus is versatile and is easily managed with minimal pruning or can be kept within a tight size requirement for a more formal look. Coleus varieties are also a widely-used in the park’s late spring-to-fall flower beds and containers. Park guests may notice several varieties layered in beds within structured shapes or blended into containers with daisies, petunias or coneflowers.”

Sheila’s tips

Plan before you plant. It’s really easy to go to the store and fall in love with everything. However, look at your space and figure out what you need, as well as what you want for your yard. For example, my yard is a full of flower beds — great for children to play hide-and-seek but not for playing ball. Once you decide where you want to make changes, you can spend your money more wisely when you shop for plants.

Take your time creating your dream garden. Plants will fill in, shade will replace sun. You will feel more successful if you concentrate your efforts a bit, maybe one area per season, rather than trying to do everything at once.

Get ideas from lots of sources. A visit to places such as Busch Gardens, local park and even neighborhood yards can give ideas that will work for you. It also helps to see plants at their mature sizes and in color combinations before you buy them

Try to reduce turf in your space. Often times, people spend a lot of time mowing and then spend money on water and fertilizer so they can spend more time mowing. Any time even a small amount of turf can be replaced with a mixed bed, the variety of plant material that replaces the turf will slow runoff when it rains and create spaces that provide a habitat for birds and insects.

Avoid using chemicals in your garden if possible. Can you manage any pests with beneficial bugs such as ladybugs or praying mantis? Can you tolerate some plant damage? If you plant milkweed, for instance, it may look unattractive when it’s doing its job as a monarch caterpillar’s food source, but it’s a great addition to a yard. Put it in the back of the bed with other tall perennials and then go out and enjoy the show.

Water smart. Choose plants that fit well in your zone and any microclimates you have. Place those plants with like water needs together to make the yard easier to maintain. Watering early in the day is usually better for disease prevention, if supplemental water is required.

“Even a small garden or large container can create a beautiful addition to your home and provide a restful hobby at the end of the day,” says Sheila.

“Take time to enjoy the process and the visitors who come to your garden. Then you can share your love of gardening with others.”

Contact Kathy at

Landscape Life Tour

Take a 21/2-hour, landscaper-guided tour of what it takes to keep Busch Gardens in Williamsburg green and lushly landscaped. Visit the greenhouse where plants are grown, meet the various plants used in the gardens, learn how to build a container garden and hear about the park’s green initiatives. Cost: $45 per person, park admission ticket required; $40.50 for season pass members. Schedule a visit 8-10:30 a.m. Mondays and Fridays at under “behind-the scenes tours at buy tickets and passes” or call 1-800-343-7946.

Follow Kathy


Kathy Hogan Van Mullekom@Facebook


Article source:,0,2054491.story